Family law is a branch of civil law pertaining to legal matters among family members. Particularly, divorce proceedings fall under the purview of family law. Unlike most other civil cases, it is possible to revisit a divorce decree in Springfield, MO without a complex appeals process. Instead of an appeals system that brings a lower court’s decision before a higher court for review, family court allows for the filing of post-judgment motions under certain circumstances.

It’s vital to understand all elements of your divorce decree, including elements that allow you to challenge components of the finalized divorce agreement. One of those elements is your ability to revise your divorce decree in the future in response to certain events. Your Springfield, MO divorce attorney can help you develop a post-judgment motion and understand what to expect from filing your motion in the Springfield, MO family court system.

What Is a Post-Judgment Motion?

A post-judgment motion is a relatively straightforward process. If you are required to abide by the terms of a divorce decree in Springfield, MO, your divorce decree has specific instructions you must follow. These instructions were developed at the time of your divorce and account for your situation during that time. Life changes, and many events can potentially prompt a post-judgment motion on a divorce decree.

Losing a job, developing a medical condition or disability, or needing to move for work could all potentially constitute grounds for a post-judgment motion. It is also possible to file a post-judgment motion if your ex has violated the terms of your divorce agreement, abused your children, or otherwise nullified the rights provided to them in the divorce decree.

After filing your post-judgment motion, the court will file it and serve your ex-spouse with the materials necessary for providing their response. Their response will generate a hearing date set in the court, and both parties must attend to participate in the hearing. In many cases, this hearing may be the only proceeding necessary for approving a very simple post-judgment motion. Other post-judgment motions can kick off more extensive proceedings.

What Are Valid Grounds for Filing a Post-Judgment Motion

It is possible you have encountered a situation you are unsure how to approach in terms of a post-judgment motion. If this is the case, consult with an experienced Springfield, MO divorce attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you determine whether a recent event qualifies for a post-judgment motion on your divorce decree. Some of the most commonly cited grounds for post-judgment motions filed in Springfield, MO include:

  • Financial hardship. If your divorce decree requires you to pay child support, alimony, or any other ongoing payments to your ex, the recent loss of your job could severely impact your ability to pay. Your attorney can help you file a motion to have your support obligation reduced or suspended until your financial situation stabilizes.
  • Medical issue. If you have suffered an injury or developed a medical condition that interferes with your ability to adhere to the terms of your divorce decree, call our firm. Your attorney can help you gather the medical records and documentation to prove that your medical issue necessitates a reevaluation of your divorce decree.
  • Unexpected change in living conditions. Perhaps you are a custodial parent whose house just flooded, or some other events outside of your control have rendered your home unsuitable for children to inhabit for the time being. A post-judgment motion could allow you to adjust your current custody and support arrangement.
  • Substance abuse. If you have an addiction that interferes with your ability to parent your children, get help. The responsible choice in this situation is to notify the court and file a motion on your divorce decree to ensure your children’s best interests are met. If your ex has developed a substance abuse disorder and presents a clear danger to your children, you have options. You can file a post-judgment motion to have their custody rights curtailed until they complete rehabilitation.
  • Child abuse. If you discover that your coparent has abused your children in any way, you should notify the authorities and your Springfield, MO divorce attorney as soon as possible. It’s essential to file a post-judgment motion as soon as possible to remove your children from the dangerous situation.
  • Sometimes a parent needs to move for work or to care for an aging parent or relative. In this situation, revisiting a divorce decree is essential if there is a standing custody and/or support arrangement.

These are just some of the most common reasons individuals file post-judgment motions on their divorce decrees. The reality is that every divorce case is unique, so countless possible situations may compel a divorced individual to file a post-judgment motion. It is the duty of the court to evaluate whether the grounds presented for the motion constitute a substantial change in circumstances to warrant adjustment. The court must also evaluate whether the cited change makes the current agreement untenable and whether an adjustment would align with the best interests of any children subject to the divorce decree.

What to Expect from a Post-Judgment Motion Filed in Springfield, MO

Missouri upholds strict, reasonable statutes when it comes to filing a post-judgment motion against a divorce decree. Your Springfield, MO divorce attorney will be an invaluable asset as you draft your motion and compile the evidence necessary to support it. Your attorney can also provide guidance for approaching your post-judgment motion hearing with more confidence.

The grounds cited for the motion and the motion’s proposed changes typically inform how fast or slow the case proceeds. A simple adjustment requested on reasonable, factual grounds will likely require no more than a single hearing. In contrast, an allegation of child abuse and request to revoke an ex-spouse’s parental rights is a much more volatile situation that will require more time to solve.

Ultimately, every divorce is different, and there are countless possible reasons you might discover that could compel you to file a post-judgment motion against your divorce decree. In any such case, it is essential to have reliable legal counsel from an experienced Springfield, MO divorce attorney as you approach this situation.